Artificial lighting can affect the body

During a Hotel Business Hot Topics session earlier this year, Pope said that, for scientists, lighting and its effects on the human body is “the next frontier post-pandemic.” While studies have been done within the last 10 to 15 years on the subject, Scialla noted, “In scientific terms, it is brand new.”

The Delos executive pointed out that the eyes are not just vehicles for seeing, but “they’re also vehicles—depending on the kind of light, the nature of the color intensity, temperature, hue and angle—that informs your body what time of day it is. It relates to our circadian cycle, which does have an impact on our sleeping quality and our energy levels.”

Pope said he stands by his initial comment, adding,“If you take a step back and look at it, it’s ubiquitous; there’s almost no place within any public or private indoor space where light and light fixtures aren’t. When you look at the numerous physiological consequences poor lighting can have on so many aspects of our daily living, in particular sleep, it is something that needs to really be investigated.”

For Delos and the Well Living Lab, the effects of artificial lighting will become one of the highest priorities moving forward.

“[We have] to look at the consequences or, to flip that around, the benefits of having proper lighting vs. some inadequate lighting scenarios, and looking at things like circadian rhythm disruption and how that impacts people’s productivity throughout the day,” said Pope. “One of the most famous psychological studies ever done was looking at different types of light. It’s really about how we then attack that with the technology that we have now.”

Scialla pointed to full spectrum lighting as the solution that can “reverse all of the damage that’s been done by getting way too much artificial light at night while we’re trying to prepare ourselves for sleep and tricking our bodies to thinking it’s 11:00 a.m not 11:00 p.m., whether we’re looking at laptops, TVs or indoor lighting, and far too little daylight during the day because we’re spending all of our time indoors.”

In the “new normal,” he said, there will be an opportunity to tackle this subject and others to put a larger focus on health & wellness, especially in the hotel industry.

“Post-pandemic, knock on wood, this will be a world where differentiating is key,” he said. “Every hotel or most hotels will have their certification for health and safety. They’ll have addressed things like pathogen transmission and concerns and so on and so forth, and it will become commonplace.”

He added, “The ones that will have an advantage to attracting audiences are those hoteliers that show their guests that they are taking a meaningful bite out of wellness as a category, not just as a response to the pandemic. If the pandemic was an ignition switch and inspired that action, then that’s an encouraging response by building owners and operators. But the differentiating factors will be folks that go beyond just addressing COVID concerns and really with meaning addressing a healthier outcome and a wellness experience for their guests. Lighting is right there. There are many more, and we’re encouraged to be studying all of that and become a part of that solution.”